Hip hop pioneer Kurtis Blow brought old school groove to Twin Cities

Hip hop legend Kurtis Blow rapped and busted
break-dance moves at a concert in Brooklyn Center in June.
Photos courtesy Anthony Tunstall/video AT Productions

By Sharon Brooks

Contributing Writer


“Back in the day” is a phrase that most people use sometimes, but rarely is it possible to actually re-live the moment of being “back in the day.” Rapper Kurtis Blow provided people with that feeling at a concert in Brooklyn Center held Friday, June 30.

From the moment Blow drove up in a super-clean ’57 Chevy with a spotless shiny yellow ’79 Volkswagen Bug nearby (courtesy of a local car expert) and gave the crowd his easy smile, we knew we were in for a night of good memories! Every act before him that lead up to this moment, including local performer “Cool King” (who really did his thing) and the awesome “Asian Break-dancing Boys” (they danced all night), were just tasty appetizers in preparation for the legendary Kurtis Blow.

Introduced by “Scorpio” of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Kurtis Blow went right into his performance at the beautiful Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, with full force! The audience was all ready when he opened up with “Party Time” to get it started.

The night was simply electrified by his performance and even more so by his “homeboy” status that Kurtis Blow reiterated by getting off the stage and doing a few cuts right there on the floor! He even showed off several minutes of his breakdancing moves that were still sharp and on point. It was surely the ’80’s again, right?!

The audience rapped along with him on “Basketball” and the unforgettable “Christmas Rappin.” He paid homage to the memory of Jam Master J of Run DMC, and also took the audience back to the movie Krush Groove, in which he was one of the stars. It was all good.

By the time Kurtis Blow rapped the undisputed hip hop classic “The Breaks,” everyone in the room became 30 years younger. This hip hop pioneer rapped many more songs that had people remembering days of fun, brotherly love and days of few if any murders amongst ourselves in the neighborhood. I dare say there was love in the room.

Yeah, “Back in the day” was the catchphrase that n

ight, so when Kurtis Blow acknowledged the event’s producer, Antoine of Where You Live Entertainment, the crowd shouted out our thanks to him as well for this rare opportunity to feel so young again. Nobody wanted this night to end.

But of course it did. Later on, Kurtis Blow gave an exclusive interview to local nonprofit Peace of Hope (filmed by AT Productions), giving his support of the organization’s efforts to provide resources to those who have loved ones incarcerated. He also talked about his view of fatherhood and its importance in the community, and how education is crucial to our success.

Kurtis Blow is a living legend — absolutely one of the greats. Perhaps the next time he visits Minnesota, more people will come out and get a taste of the fountain of youth this icon has to give.


Sharon Brooks is the founder of Peace of Hope. She welcomes reader responses to peaceofhope@excite.com.